"Take 12 stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan... carry them over with you, and lay them down in the place where you camp tonight." - Joshua 4:3
Here we have a moment of high drama.
After all the desert wanderings and anguish of those 40 years, it is now time to enter the Promised Land. The priests have already been told to take the Ark of the Covenant and to step into the waters of the Jordan to stop its flow. After all have crossed to dry ground Joshua gives the command above. One man from each tribe is to take a stone from the riverbed and bring it in order to build a memorial cairn. When the children of a new generation might ask what this means, Joshua says they are to relate the story of the goodness of God.
Souvenirs. We all find them squirreled away in drawers, little things we have brought back from travels to remind us that once "we were there." God's people here choose the indestructible stones as a memorial to evoke both the question and the explanatory moment.
I remember a Marble Church trip that took us through part of Jordan on our way to Israel. All along the route were small cairns of stones, perhaps a foot or two in height. Our guide explained that they were markers from the migrating Bedouin tribes. I can still hear him say, "If we could read them, we would know which tribes passed this way and where they were headed."
If we could read them… Joshua wants Israel to go on reading these precious reminders that they have a God who has journeyed with them and who will now live among them in this new land. That is not to be forgotten.
This might be a day for searching our memories in prayer to discover how God has passed through our lives in ways we would rather not lose.